Monkey Business in Downtown Mobile

A lot has happened since the deadline for my first Mobility column a couple of weeks ago. And what’s the most exciting news?

Drumroll… Mobile will soon have a monkey bar! And not just any monkey bar but Eugene’s Monkey Bar!

Why, you might ask, am I so excited about this? Because it seems to me that Mobile hasn’t paid sufficient homage to our favorite son, Eugene Walter. If you don’t know who Eugene is (and why this blog is named Of Moonpies and Monkeys), click on the Monkeys tab above.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the short version. Eugene embodies the spirit of Mobile. And Eugene dearly loved monkeys.

“Down in Mobile, they’re all crazy, because the Gulf Coast is the kingdom of monkeys, the land of clowns, ghosts and musicians, and Mobile is sweet lunacy’s county seat.”

– Eugene Walter, The Untidy Pilgrim (1953)

Eugene’s Monkey Bar will open in the new Hilton Garden Inn downtown on Bienville Square. Now, I know a lot of folks are still mad about all those beautiful live oak trees they cut down to build the hotel. I hate to lose a live oak as much as the next person but we have to move on. And I have to give Hilton credit for giving the new hotel a local spin by honoring Eugene.

Sounds like Eugene’s will be more than just another place to grab a drink. It’s described as a sidewalk café, offering breakfast daily, weekend brunch plus small plates and craft cocktails in the evening.

When will it open? I’ve seen info online that states “Fall 2016.” But that sounds like the overoptimistic marketing suits talking. The hotel is taking reservations starting 2/15/17 so that would be my best guess.


noun: mobility



  1. the ability to move or be moved freely and easily.
  2. the ability to move between different levels in society or employment.

Sounds like a pretty good description of our lovely city in 2016, doesn’t it? Things are happening here in Mobile, Alabama. And so that’s the name I chose for my new column in Lagniappe.

Mobility will look at all the positive developments we’re seeing, from an energized city government to new citizen activist groups and the projects that are coming to fruition. My goal is to stitch together the pieces to assess the overall impact on this place we call home. We’ll look at what has changed since 2014, what things will look like by 2020, and keep you up to date on projects in progress.

You can find the first Mobility column in the October 20 issue or read it online here.

Next up in Mobility: A tour of the Mobile waterfront.

Want to more information on any of the topics in the first column? Here ya go:

Map for Mobile

One Mobile – Also on Facebook.

Midtown Mobile Movement – Also on Facebook.

NextDoor Mobile

Form-based code (Fair warning: These links are for the wonkiest among you and may cause your eyes to roll back in your head.)


Adventures in Mexican Cuisine

Yum, had me some nice, fresh huitlacoche (pronounced “QUEET-la-coh-chay) for dinner last night.  That’s Aztec for corn fungus. Well actually, huitlacoche translates as “raven’s excrement”. Nothing like a little bird poop to get the ol’ taste buds dancing. Continue reading

NOLA’s Running of the Bulls

A Running of the Bulls a little closer to home than San Miguel de Allende and Pamplona.

Continue reading


This morning I woke up to the sound of petardos. The petardos started so early they woke up the gallos (roosters). How charming, I thought. The locals are having fireworks for the 4th of July, in honor of all the American expats that live here in San Miguel de Allende. (But why do they have to start at 6 am?)

Not exactly.

Continue reading

On the road again…

Woke up this morning* to a steady rain (compliments of Alex) and a serenade of quiquiriquis (that’s Spanish for cockadoodle-doos). I’m in San Miguel de Allende for the next five weeks, studying creative writing. Seemed like a good time to crank the blog back up.

Continue reading

Best links for info on the oil spill and volunteer opportunities

Here are some particularly good links I’ve found:


  • Mobile Bay National Estuary Program – Provide contact information to the MBNEP office by phone at 251- 431-6409 or by email to
  • Pascagoula River Audubon Center – “If you are interested in being trained to help wash oiled birds, please email the Center (contact us) with your Full Name and phone number. We are being inundated with phone calls for volunteer request, please use the contact link to submit your information.”
  • – An excellent site created by a couple in Ocean Springs, MS. Includes general information on the volunteer effort (not Mississippi-specific) that is constantly updated. Mississippi-specific information includes how to sign up to volunteer and training sessions.
  • Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – Collecting volunteer information for Louisiana

Spill Status Continue reading

Happy Earth Day!

Hey, wanna join me in my new Earth Day tradition? Let’s commit to giving up something specific for Earth Day. Sort of like Lent, except permanently. Change one habit that’s hurting Mother.

I like to think I’m pretty green. Continue reading

Lil’s Gigs for April

If you’re a Lil Greenwood fan, get out your calendar. For the uninitiated, Lil is an incredible jazz/blues vocalist and songwriter. She was discovered by Duke Ellington at the Purple Onion (the one in the other LA, not here in Mobile) in the 1940s, and she spent three decades touring with the jazz/blues greats including The Ellington Orchestra, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn and others. We’re lucky she calls Prichard home, and she performs regularly in the Mobile area.

Lil performs with Hosea London, leader of Mobile’s legendary Excelsior Band. Below is their schedule for April. Here’s the amazing part: these are all free events (at least I think so; call to avoid disappointment). Continue reading

Fishing fun with Moon Doggie Smith (and others, Thursdays through May…)

The things I trip across while fishing (sorry…) for information. Found this while surfing for photography info. Go figure.

McCoy Outdoor Company is holding a spring fishing seminar series and the next seminar it TODAY at 5pm.  All seminars are free and open to the public. Continue reading